The Broken Girls by Simone St. James


Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants—the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming—until one of them mysteriously disappears... 

Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past—and a voice that won't be silenced.

Book Details

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Published March 20th 2018 by Berkley
Fiction / Thrillers / Supernatural
Hardcover, 336 pages
Source: Edelweiss
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars


My Review


The Broken Girls by Simone St. James combines the eerily Gothic with a suspenseful crime drama, intertwining a ghost story set in a boarding school in Vermont during the 1950's with a revived murder mystery case currently being dug up at its abandoned and crumbling ruins.

Whispering in the halls and garden is the ever-present rumor that Idlewild Hall is haunted.

Idlewild Hall has the dark and haunted vibe you look for in a Gothic. Lingering shadows, chilling encounters, and the feeling that something is trying to reveal itself.

What I loved about this book is the unique way Simone St. James unraveled the two mysteries.

By giving us the multiple perspectives of Sonia, Katie, Roberta, and CeCe, four girls from different backgrounds living at Idlewild Hall in the 1950's, and through journalist Fiona Sheridan, who makes a shocking discovery during the current renovations of Idlewild, St. James brilliantly links the past to the present. 

Beautifully crafted with alternating perspectives, the story becomes rich and layered. 

The hardships Sonia, Katie, Roberta, and CeCe faced growing up in an all-girls boarding house, especially during a time when fear of anything non-conformity threatened—and labeled as troublemakers, made life almost unbearable for these girls except for the deep friendship they shared.

This is a story of fierce friendships, the power of sister-ship and the unbreakable bonds of love. 

The mystery, both of Mary Hand and murders linking past to present at  Idlewild Hall, kept me guessing until the very end. I was equally invested in each story and loved how well they came together in a haunting and beautiful ending. 

In the end

Filled with dark secrets and eerily atmospheric, THE BROKEN GIRLS is a cleverly crafted mystery featuring a strong female cast of characters, plenty of twists and the shadowing of a well-done Gothic story. 

Recommended for:

Highly recommend. Especially to readers looking for a unique mystery, strong female characters, and those who enjoy boarding house settings with a touch of the supernatural.